by Virginia McCullough
© 8/29/10

On June 9, 1993, this reporter was sued by the Studio City, California law firm of Masry & Vititoe representing their clients Brenda James-Soulliere and Virginia Welmas-Nichols, two members of the Cabazon Tribe located near Indio, California. The complaint is Superior Court, State of California, County of Los Angeles, Case No. ECO 12349 and it asked for damages for slander per se and for an injunction "enjoining further publication and dissemination of the slanderous statements complained of herein". Compensatory, special damages for pecuniary loss, punitive damages and interest as allowed by law were requested as monetary damages.

The co-defendants listed on the complaint signed by attorney Edward D. Masry were KPFK, A California Corporation, Archives on Audio, A California Business Organization, Dave Emory, An Individual, Harry Martin, An Individual, KFJC, A California Corporation, Virginia McCullough, An Individual and DOES 1 through 600, Inclusive.

Each defendant decided to represent themselves individually and eventually filed their own responses.

Dave Emory, who broadcast on Foothill Colleges radio station KFJC, had interviewed both Harry Martin and Virginia McCullough following the killing of Joseph "Danny" Casolaro in August of 1992.

Virginia McCullough appeared on one of Emory's radio programs "We have ways of making you sell: The Inslaw Scandal" on November 22, 1992. It was this program that was cited in Exhibit "C", page 2 of 2 of the lawsuit containing the only comment attributed to McCullough:

For the Wackenhut/Cabazon joint venture.

Right. John Philip Nichols and his family of sons and one daughter literally took over in a bloodless coup the Cabazon Indian Reservation in 1978, took control of the reservation and never relinquished it and dealt continuously with mob figures, both in the funding to open up the casinos and gambling halls and in people running the casinos like a Mr. Zangari who came right out of the last Mafioso book was running their card room for them.

The entire complaint was 11 pages plus 14 pages of exhibits. (For pertinent pages Click.)

Page 165 of The Return of the Buffalo by Ambrose I. Lane, Sr. most accurately describes the attitude of the "Cabazon Band of Mission Indians" in 1993:

The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians has expended hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years defending itself from attacks by several levels of government and to establish rights for itself and all Native Americans. In 1993 the Tribe reached the point where it no longer allows publications to libel its members. A great deal has been made by these "journalists" about the small size of the Tribe and its monumental achievements. What they need to understand is the Tribe's smallness may well allow it to sue for libel as a Tribe. And no publication in the nation will escape the Cabazons' reach if they decide to sue.

And sue they should. Every tribal member interviewed had stories of having to submit to painful questions asked of them by their neighbors and perfect strangers who have read the smears of  The Desert Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle or Spy magazine, or heard the rantings of an obviously "sick jackass" like radio personality David Emory. As it is now affecting their children as well, members are determined to stop the libel and slander.

Author Lane was accurate in his appraisal in that the two ladies who sued did so using the small status of the Cabazon tribe and their membership in that tribe. Paragraph 20, page 5 of the complaint states, "The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, to which Plaintiffs are members, is a class of individuals which is small enough for the defamatory matters to be understood to refer to Plaintiffs."

Virginia McCullough issued a response using the law of a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP)" backed with a response that contained 15 pages in response and 76 pages of exhibits. The response was filed August 4, 1993.

Page 3, paragraph 10 of the response states that, "Virginia McCullough denies the allegations in paragraph 51 that Dave Emory made statements attributing gold smuggling to the individual members of the Cabazon Band or to the plaintiffs because she lacks sufficient knowledge of any such statements with which to form an opinion. However documents she has seen lead her to believe that large scale gold transactions may have taken place at, near, or through the Cabazon Reservation."

The important exhibits are A through C as follows:

Exhibit A is a January 21, 1983, letter from John Philip Nichols to Robert Booth Nichols. It is believed that the AU referred to in this letter is the chemical symbol for gold.

Exhibit B
is a copy of an 7/03/79 telegram proposing a multi-billion dollar gold transaction. This telegram again refers to AU but identifies it further in parenthesis as (gold). This telegram ends "John Philip Nichols SS 345-12-0325 on the behalf of all concerned parties". This telegram was obtained from the papers of Fred Alvarez, a Cabazon Indian who was murdered along with two other people in a triple execution in 1981. Four years later in 1985, in a separate case John Philip Nichols was convicted and jailed for solicitation of murder in Riverside County. Virginia McCullough is informed and believes, and thereupon alleges that the plaintiff, Virginia Welmas-Nichols, is the daughter-n-law of John Philip Nichols.

Exhibit C is Newsletter No. 31, dated September 20, 1991 by investigative reporter Don Devereux which details the interest of free-lance journalist Danny Casolaro in Devereux's knowledge of large scale gold and platinum transfers during the 1970s and 1980s. Casolaro was found dead August 10, 1991 in a West Virginia Sheraton Inn with his wrists slashed to the bone. The Congressional House Judiciary Report entitled "The Inslaw Report" calls for an investigation into his death. This reporter's name is repeatedly misspelled "Kasselarrow" in the complaint filed by the plaintiff's attorneys.

This reporter also denied the allegation that my words were spoken without privilege and stressed that my words were within my right of free speech on a matter of great public interest and as such were privileged. The sources I listed were court documents, congressional hearings, as well as federal and state agency reports which are afforded absolute privilege.

On August 26, 1993 Attorney Theodore C. Phlegar mailed me a Compromise Agreement and Release on the letterhead of Masry & Vititoe and a check in the amount of $273.00. This reporter's participation as a defendant in the lawsuit ended at this point.

Virginia Mccullough ©  8/29/10